On Thursday, August 25th, after a four day trial, a Fayette County jury convicted Jermaine Alfonso Harmon, a 49-year-old man from Fayetteville, GA of Felony Murder, Aggravated Assault, and Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Felony. The Honorable W. Fletcher Sams sentenced the defendant to Life in prison plus 5 years. Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney Warren Sellers and Senior Assistant District Attorney Dan Hiatt tried the case for the State. The case was investigated by the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office.
The evidence at trial showed that the victim Joshua Kellam returned his 10-year-old daughter to the home of the child’s mother and the Defendant after a month long summer visit on July 31, 2020. The next day, August 1, 2020, the victim realized he had left his travel bag containing important legal and personal documents in his daughter’s suitcase and kept her book bag by mistake. Mr. Kellam tried through text messages, calls, and visits to the residence alone and accompanied by law enforcement to retrieve the bag. Although, the Defendant knew Mr. Kellam sought the return of the file he refused to respond. Finally, he came back one last time that evening with the child’s book bag in one hand and his cell phone in the other. When Mr. Kellam knocked on the door, the Defendant exited the home with a .40 caliber Glock pistol, punched Mr. Kellam in the face and shot him through the heart causing his death.
The Defendant testified at trial, claimed self-defense, and asserted that he shot the victim after the victim had him in a headlock. The jury rejected this defense with its verdict.
The victim’s wife and sister attended the trial and spoke at the sentencing hearing.
“All of us involved in the trial were just deeply saddened by such a senseless killing of such a loving husband, father, and brother.” Sellers said of the verdict. “We are thankful that justice prevailed, and Mr. Harmon was held accountable.”
District Attorney Broder stated, “this verdict is a statement by the jury that you cannot take the life of another human being and then attempt to use self-defense to get away with the crime. Joshua Kellam was so loved, and his murder impacted so many people. I hope and pray this verdict and sentence can allow his family to have some sense of justice.”